Ahead of Pride Week in Israel, which kicks off Friday in Tel Aviv with the city’s annual parade, The Jerusalem Post spoke with Eran Globus, the chairperson (he insists his title be gender- neutral) of the Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance about the achievements and challenges faced by Israel’s LGBT community.At 22 years old, he is the youngest board member in the history of LGBT organizations in Israel.Situated in the heart of Jerusalem, The Open House, for short, services some 20,000 members of Jerusalem’s LGBT community every year and offers them a variety of inclusive activities and initiatives, including youth groups, open clinics, free HIV tests, counseling, community events, Shabbat and religious services and more.
For Globus and the rest of the Open House staff and volunteers who will be attending the parade, Friday’s events are not just about Pride Week but about a long arduous journey for Israel’s LGBT community.“This isn’t just Pride Week, it’s two months of events, pride parades in nine cities across Israel and it all culminates in the annual Pride March in Jerusalem in August,” Globus told the Post.“I think it says something about starting with a giant celebration in Tel Aviv and following it with pride parades throughout the country, in local communities, to raise awareness about who we are and the struggles we face and then to finish with a big event in Jerusalem that is more political,” Globus added. “It’s like we took this time to celebrate our achievements, to show you who we are in smaller local communities, and by the time we get to Jerusalem, we stand together to fight being marginalized and oppressed in the city where the Knesset and the Supreme Court sits. This is where we fight so that we can celebrate next year.”The Open House is in charge of putting on the Jerusalem pride parade and Globus explained how and why the tone of Tel Aviv’s parade differs dramatically from that of Jerusalem’s, which is scheduled for the first week of August. “One of the reasons why Jerusalem’s pride parade is so different from Tel Aviv’s is because in many ways Jerusalem is really on the ‘front line’ of this ongoing battle between liberal and conservative forces,” said Globus.“Because Jerusalem has this long and complicated history and because of all of this diversity, Jerusalem is a battlefield.I don’t like to conjure up this type of war-like vocabulary, but I feel like we are fighting an ongoing battle from small minor instances of homophobia to more violent incidents that are covered in the press and the culmination of this battle was the parade in 2015 with the stabbing [and killing] of Shira Banki, of blessed memory.This young teenager, an ally of our community, was just there to help her friends, and she paid the highest price.”Despite Jerusalem’s parade having a more solemn and serious tone compared to the wild celebrations awaiting Tel Aviv this weekend, Globus is optimistic: “I know it is less fun over here, but I think it will be worth it. I’m sure in 20 years, Jerusalem’s parade will be a real celebration.”